Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Glimpses of Copenhagen, Rostock and Tallinn

Copenhagen was the first stop on my travels around the northern countries of Europe. I’ve visited Denmark three times now, and it’s a country which I find very appealing. So far, I haven’t read any crime novels set in Denmark, but this is an omission I’d like to put right soon. On this occasion we didn’t manage to make it to the Tivoli Gardens, but in the past I’ve found it a magical place – whether it’s ever featured in a Danish crime story, I don’t know. Is anybody able to enlighten me, please?

Next stop was Wahnemunde, a resort port that basked in marvellous sunshine. We made the short trip to nearby Rostock, with its appealing waterfront. I’ve read quite a number of German crime novels, but I don’t think I’ve come across any so far set in former East Germany, though I’m sure there must be a number of books which take as their setting the fascinating and thought-provoking transition from communist to capitalist society.

After that, a trip to Tallinn, capital of Estonia, and boasting a compact Old Town that I thought truly marvellous. Exploring this lovely city was possibly the unexpected highlight of the cruise. Again, it’s a place that once formed part of the Soviet bloc, but Tallinn seems to have adapted with great enthusiasm to western ways. I’ve not heard of any Estonian crime fiction, but even if the country lacks a Mankell or a Larsson, no doubt some good books set in this delightful part of the world will turn up before long!


Dorte H said...

You have captured a very beautiful spot of Copenhagen!

I have never read or heard about crime novels set in Tivoli. I have not even read that many that are set in Copenhagen. As some literary guru from The Capital stated recently, apparently very worried, much of our recent literature seems to be set in the province! Well, as nothing else is set in the province (certainly not the jobs or the highways), perhaps it is only fair we get our share of the crime ;)

Of the rather few (good) Danish writers who are translated, not many write novels that take place in Copenhagen either. But Peter Høgh´s rather fascinating Miss Smilla´s Feeling for Snow must begin in Copenhagen, I think. Most of Leif Davidsen´s have more exotic settings, but a very fine novel is on its way across the pond: Kaaberbøl and Friis, The Suitcase Boy (the best Danish thriller I have ever read).

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Dorte. It is a lovely country. I'd forgotten Miss Smilla, which I did read long ago. Can you tell us more about The Suitcase Boy please?

Anonymous said...

Martin - Lovely 'photos! Thanks for sharing them. It sounds as though you had a wonderful trip.

Dorte - Thank you for the book tips. There goes my TBR list again! ; )

Dorte H said...

It caused a bit of hype in 2008 when it was first published, and though I don´t necessarily count that against it, I just didn´t find it in my local library until May this year.

It is a debut in the way that Agnete Friis (a journalist, I believe) has never written fiction before, and her partner in crime, Lene Kaaberbøl had ´only´ written some series for children before. (C. ten of her children´s books have been translated into English).

I contacted Lene Kaaberbøl recently for a review example of their second crime novel, and soon after I learned that they had sold "The Suitcase Boy" to the American publisher SoHO Press. Excellent, as their novel is much better than some of the fast-paced Danish thrillers that have already been sold (my opinion for what it is worth, but I am quite sure you´d also enjoy the protagonist of The Suitcase Boy).

You can see my review here:

Unknown said...

I'm so jealous. I would love to visit Northern Europe and places like Denmark, Netherlands... the list goes on. The pictures are so beautiful and the architecture has so much character.


Martin Edwards said...

Dorte, many thanks.
Clarissa, I'm sure you would enjoy it - hope you get to see the sights soon!

dining room table said...

Copenhagen is my dream place. I know that there is a lot of amazing sites and great places can be found in Copenhagen. I wish I that day comes sooner.

Lauren said...

At least I'm not the only one - I was in Oslo recently and dug out a new crime novel set there as soon as I got back! (Bizarrely, the author is French, but the story seems good so far.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Lauren, let us know your final verdict on it!